What the World Series is to baseball and the Super Bowl is to football, the approaching clash between challenger Magnus Carlsen, of Norway, and world champion Viswanathan Anand, of India, is to global chess. The match, set to begin Nov. 8, is an extraordinary one, a battle between the energy of youth and the wisdom of age. Carlsen is only 22, and comes from a country where chess has not been a leading interest. He is a phenomenon, having achieved the highest rating ever, 2872 (based on records commenced in 1970), exceeding Garry Kasparov’s prior record of 2851.
The general consensus about the match is that, to quote Tennyson, “The old order changeth, yielding place to new.” But Anand has shared a chess crown in 2000-2002, and enjoyed an exclusive championship continuously since 2007, disposing of opponents Vladimir Kramnik, of Russia, Veselin Topalov, of Bulgaria, and Boris Gelfand, of Israel. He will not be an easy victim and will not go quietly. He has remained active of late, with medium results, while Carlsen has remained in the spotlight. Anand is a gentle and popular champion worldwide, and a hero in India, where he has received unprecedented national awards.
The players have contrasting styles. Anand has in the past liked opposite wing attacks, always alert for successful combinations, and until recently he has been the leading speed player in the world. Carlsen is noted for his abrasive endgames. He leans toward the Ruy Lopez opening, but his goal is to avoid established lines, exchange major pieces, and wear down his opponent to utter exasperation.
Carlsen recently won the four-player Sinquefield Cup tournament, featuring Hikaru Nakamura, of the United States, Gata Kamsky, also of the US, and Levon Aronian, of Armenia, in St. Louis. In his game against No. 2-rated Aronian, Carlsen played on and on, despite a pawn down in an uncertain endgame. He held the position with a couple of knights, managed to centralize his king, and achieved a 70-move victory, which he thought of during play as a “sweet prospect.”
The match will be held in Anand’s hometown, Chennai, India. Carlsen courteously agreed to the site and has scouted it thoroughly. He brought his own food with him but found that he could tolerate Indian cuisine. Nevertheless, he will bring some supplies for the match. Because the world championship of late has been held annually, the match will be disappointingly short, only 12 games, but in case of a tie there will be playoff games. Nevertheless, one misstep and a loss can loom large in such a match.
ChessBase.com will cover it in four languages: English, French, German, and Spanish. For the many thousands of chess players around the globe, many of whom will watch live, this will be an exciting match.
Brevity: E. Formanek vs. J. Bonin (1979): 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f3 0–0 6.Be3 e5 7.Nge2 c6 8.Qd2 a6 9.Rd1 exd4 10.Nxd4 Re8 11.Be2 d5 12.Nb3 b5 13.cxd5 b4 14.Na4 Nxe4 15.fxe4 Qh4+ 16.Bf2 Qxe4 17.0–0; 1-0
Winners: Seventh Annual Knights CC Championship, Keen, N.H.: 1st, Clay Bradley 3.5-0.5, 2d, Jesse Anderson 3-1, 3d (tie), David Kochman, Paul Connelly, John Naylor 2.5-1.5; Boylston Legends of Chess: 1st-2d, Lawyer Times and Eric Godin 3-1, 3d, Nithin Kavi 2.5-1.5.
Coming Events: Fourth Annual Hartford Open, Nov. 15-17, or 16-17, Sheraton Hotel, 1 Bradley Airport, Windsor Locks Conn., www.chesstours
.com; Nov. 9, Elaine Kahn Memorial and Nov. 16, Boylston Grand Prix, both at Boylston Chess Club, 240B Elm St., Somerville, www.boylston